Leapfrog’s PhD candidate Mirian Calvo is conducting her Pilot Study using the Peer-to-Peer Community Engagement project as a platform to introduce herself in a real-life research scenario to gather a better understanding about the context of her research. During this process she is gradually gaining access to the human dynamics of some participants engaging in the community co-design workshops on the Isle of Mull. As a result of this, Mirian was invited to collaborate in a consultation event with the Tobermory Harbour Association (THA). The event itself was held on the outdoors area of the harbour, in Tobermory, and it consisted of a series of public engagement activities designed and developed to engage community members and tourists with a community development projects called Aros Waterfront Regeneration. The project is seeking to restore the historic Aros Pier and to refurbish two disused buildings, the original Boathouse and former Sawmill. The aim is to identify a sustainable business development that will enhance local facilities and provide additional jobs and economic benefit to Tobermory and the Isle of Mull.
This experience involved Mirian closely working with one of the participants from the Leapfrog workshops to help set up the stand and undertake public consultation during the event. This enabled her to collect a big picture of the sociocultural context through the participant’s eyes. The objective was to become an insider-outsider in order to truly understand the contextual factors which shape the everyday life of the communities we work with. On this matter, it can be concluded that a greater awareness of context helps designers to reveal the interconnection between individual and collective social dynamics which are distinctive and act simultaneously. This experience in the social life of the communities involved in Leapfrog helps us to establish a relationship of empathy with the participants and therefore, to better understand their needs and desires, but also to co-design better.